Why Agile Digital Product Development Is Vital in 2023

James Ardis
In 2023, customer expectations for digital experiences are higher than they’ve ever been before. Following the pandemic, consumers assume that they can complete just about any task from their phone and laptop (and enjoy a streamlined experience while doing it).
Professional holding up notes reading “to do,” “doing,” “done,” representing the velocity of completing tasks in agile digital product development

In 2023, customer expectations for digital experiences are higher than they’ve ever been before. Following the pandemic, consumers assume that they can complete just about any task from their phone and laptop (and enjoy a streamlined experience while doing it).

Meanwhile, American companies are still preparing for a recession. 93% of CEOs are bracing for this likely outcome in 2023, even though most agree that it will be far less severe than the Great Recession they experienced just over a decade ago.

How can companies like yours dynamically meet customers’ needs while also keeping budgets reasonable in a recessionary environment?

Agile digital product development allows you to iteratively deploy the systems your customers and employees need, continuously collect feedback to make sure their needs are being met, and pivot quickly (and cost-effectively) when those needs change.

Agile digital product development was established with the Agile Manifesto in 2001, so it is far from a new concept. However, this methodology has never been more relevant than today, where every industry demands a nimble and value-oriented approach.

In this blog post, learn more about agile digital product development, how to begin leveraging it, and its unique benefits in 2023.

What is Agile Digital Product Development?

Agile digital product development is a methodology that allows you to create digital systems in short, continuous development cycles, ensuring fast value delivery and flexibility to adapt to changing needs.

There are countless examples of digital products your organization can create with agile digital product development. That includes customer-facing systems like e-commerce platforms and systems for internal use, such as data platforms.

Each development cycle takes only 2-4 weeks and revolves around delivering whatever is most important for the user and your organization. Everyone involved sees results quickly.

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software,” write the authors of the Agile Manifesto.

The speed of these iterations is also an important way to keep development nimble. If it becomes clear that customer needs are changing, development can shift course in a matter of weeks.

Agile digital product development team brainstorming at a table


Compare this with the more traditional waterfall approach, where development teams would have to wait for the entire product to be complete before factoring in new customer feedback.

Meeting Customer Needs in Record Time

So, what unique benefits does agile digital product development bring to your organization in 2023? The first is helping you to quickly exceed customer expectations.

In 2023, 2.64 billion people shop online, and these numbers continue to rise annually. In the B2B space, too, Gartner projects 80% of sales interactions will be digital by 2025.

With so many customers choosing digital systems to engage and do business with your brand, it’s important to stay on top of their evolving needs. Agile digital product development’s iterative cycles allow you to do that faster than waterfall and other methodologies.

Agile revolves around continuously ingesting new feedback from users and then incorporating that feedback into each development sprint. With agile, changing user needs is not a point of crisis but instead an expected and welcomed part of the digital product development process.

As our COO, Alexandre Mac Fadden, puts it, agile creates “a customer-oriented feedback loop where you gather information, extract insights, create, deliver and realize value, get further feedback, and iterate as many times as possible.”

Woman browsing alerts and notifications system on her phone


 One of our clients in the HR industry recently wanted to create an alerts and notifications system that would allow employers to send important messages to employees. As we developed the system alongside the company, we learned more about what employers needed from it.

With iterative development cycles using our fast-to-value Agile Experience methodology, we were able to continuously deliver those vital features. That included pre-scheduled notifications, expanding the list of simultaneous recipients, and multilingual support.

Keeping Buy-In for Development by Showing Value Quickly

Continuous product development is important, but it’s impossible to keep it going without continued buy-in from the rest of the c-suite. CTOs and other tech leaders must look beyond technology to show how development is bringing clear business value early and often.

As we mentioned before, this is especially true in 2023 when most organizations are bracing for a possible recession. Mass layoffs are frequent across industries and every expense is under scrutiny.

Tech teams are still seeing increases to their budgets in 2023, on average 1.8%. However, these boosts are far below the pandemic-level highs, such as 5.4% in 2021 and even the historical average of 3.4%.

Agile digital product development is useful here as well. Every development cycle should deliver value to your organization, allowing you to come into meetings every 2-4 weeks with something important to show stakeholders. This should boost enthusiasm for your initiative and encourage the c-suite to give you a more liberal budget.

This was always the plan for agile development when the authors of the Agile Manifesto came together in 2001, and it couldn’t be more helpful in 2023. “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”

Two executives shaking hands on a new agile digital product development plan

 For example, we leveraged agile digital product development to create an e-commerce platform for a leading energy company. The organization needed a digital platform to present all their offerings to customers for the first time ever.

Under the waterfall methodology, this organization (and their customers) would’ve waited years for these systems. But with agile, we were able to deploy the most important functionalities of it quickly, ensuring buy-in throughout the initiative.

Adapt Quickly to Changing Regulations

As an executive, you always have to keep in mind that regulations in your country, state, or industry could change how your company operates overnight.

More specifically, in 2023, many companies are adopting generative AI tools like ChatGPT knowing full well that tighter regulations are on their way in the EU and most likely worldwide. An ill-prepared company may find much of their work with generative AI wasted. Worse yet, they could end up in court.

As we’ve discussed, agile digital product development is a methodology that assumes change is continuous. When a new regulation rolls out, agile development teams can quickly pivot and build fully-compliant products and features. Application modernization can also help you return to legacy systems and make them compliant in a similarly fast-paced way.

Two professionals collaborating in an office during agile digital product development

Collaborate Easily in a Growingly Remote World

American workers will spend 25% of their workdays remotely in 2023, according to research from Stanford. While collaboration is still very much possible in this new, remote work culture, you may find it harder than when everyone was in the office.

It’s difficult sometimes to know what employees are working on, understand why they’re prioritizing one task over another, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access the work they’re completing.

Luckily, agile digital product development revolves around daily communication between tech teams and stakeholders. Everyone discusses what they’re working on frequently, often with daily stand-up discussions, and receives feedback consistently during these meetings and with sprint reviews.

Programmers Inc.’s Agile Experience method helps boost collaboration further. By tracking metrics related to agile processes and holding frequent coaching sessions to discuss the success of agile development, you’ll have even more visibility into your teams’ strengths and areas of improvement. You can learn more about what sets the Agile Experience apart here.

Final Thoughts

2023 has brought unique business challenges for tech executives. Just as customer expectations in digital systems reach all-time highs, tech budgets have entered a phase of increased scrutiny as CEOs look to cut spending with a looming recession.

Agile digital product development allows your organization to continuously exceed customer expectations while also achieving value quickly to satisfy short-term budgetary needs. These agile processes also help you pivot as customer needs change and other factors, such as new regulations, force a change.

Programmers Inc. can help by pinpointing how successful your agile processes have been to this point with our Agile Assessment. We also offer dedicated development teams that can leverage agile processes to deliver value to your company early and often.

Let us know how we can help you.

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